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Customer Review

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling but less than the sum of its parts, November 11, 2006
This review is from: The Proposition (DVD)
The Proposition has the kind of premise that Anthony Mann would have loved - wild colonial boy Guy Pearce is released into the outback to kill his psychotic older brother Danny Huston to save his younger brother from the noose by Ray Winstone's policeman determined to civilize his godforsaken corner of 19th century Australia. Unfortunately it never quite makes enough of it. Coming to it after both the excessive praise and the equally excessive backlash I wasn't disappointed, although the film does have problems. The most obvious is that screenwriter Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat become so enamoured of Winstone's character that he dominates the film to the detriment of not only the other players but the film itself: while there's none of his scenes that should be cut, neither Pearce nor Huston get nearly as much screentime. As a result, the central moral dilemma is kept firmly backstage and Huston's nature is only really hinted at rather than explored, although the violence, when it comes, is convincingly blunt. But at times it's almost as if Coppola had decided that instead on concentrating on Martin Sheen's killer in Apocalypse Now he'd make a film about the officer who sends him out to terminate with extreme prejudice instead.

It's a film with great things going for it - there's some fine dialogue, Hillcoat has a great visual sense and a striking eye for the Scope frame, while an underplayed Winstone is superb - but one that never becomes great.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 19, 2009 1:12:45 AM PST
wow.... that's a powerfully accurate analogy to describe what's wrong with this movie... still great, but what perfect criticism.

you will recieve your free internet in the mail, good sir.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2009 1:17:43 PM PST
Thank you, my good sir - that's much appreciated.

Posted on Sep 8, 2010 12:19:39 PM PDT
redboat says:
Great review and insights. I loved the movie for its striking social commentary and contrasts, and subtle characterizations, and would give it 5 stars - it is probably my favorite "western" of the last 10 years - but I'm grateful nonetheless for your intelligent and thoughtful comments.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2010 4:50:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 8, 2010 4:50:39 PM PDT
Thanks very much, Andrew. There's certainly a lot to like about the film, even if it does abandon the central dilemma for most of the running time.
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